Odisha police arrest Abhijit Iyer-Mitra for ‘derogatory’ remarks on Sun Temple

Bhubaneswar: Security analyst and columnist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra has been arrested in connection with his alleged derogatory remarks on Konark Sun Temple, Odisha and its culture, police said today.

This was informed to the media by Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Police Commissioner Satyajit Mohanty.

The Commissionerate Police arrested Iyer-Mitra after hours of interrogation at an undisclosed location in the city.

Mohanty said Iyer-Mitra was arrested in connection with a criminal case registered against him at Saheed Nagar Police Station on September 20.

He has been booked under IPC Sections 294, 295A, 153A, 500, 506 and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act.

Later in the evening, Iyer-Mitra was produced before the SDJM Court here. He was sent to a 14-day judicial custody.

The Delhi-based journalist was grilled in connection with a case filed at Sahid Nagar Police Station in Bhubaneswar over his derogatory remarks against Odisha, police added.

Earlier in the day, Iyer-Mitra had appeared before a House Committee of the Odisha Assembly and tendered an unconditional apology for his derogatory remarks against the Sun Temple and comments on legislators.

The House panel headed by leader of opposition Narasingh Mishra asked Abhijit to re-appear on November 2 and submit an affidavit.

Abhijit was questioned about the alleged breach of privilege.

Abhijit had earlier been summoned to appear before the panel on October 11, which he had skipped. He was summoned again to appear on October 23.

Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Amat had on September 20 constituted a House Committee to probe the journalist’s alleged derogatory remarks against the state and its lawmakers.

Abhijit had on September 16 posted a video on Twitter criticising the Konark temple. Later, he went on to make the alleged derogatory remarks against Odisha and its culture.

Two FIRs were registered against him at Konark and Saheed Nagar police stations for his remarks.

Last month, the Odisha Police arrested the columnist in New Delhi for his anti-Odisha comments. However, he was given conditional bail by a local court in the national capital.

Later, the Supreme Court rejected his bail plea saying his comments ‘incited religious sentiments’.

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